Pakistani Warship Will Take Part In Turkish Naval Exercise Mavi Balina 12

Tomorrow Turkish and Pakistani navies will start a joint naval exercise off the coast of Turkey. The exercise called Mavi Balina 12 will start on 5th November and will end on 14th.

Pakistan Navy ship “PNS Shamsheer” will be visiting Aksaz Naval Base Marmaris and Antalya harbour from 5 to 14 November and will participate in joint exercise “Mavi Baline-12” with the Turkish Navy.

 Pakistan Navy P3C-Orion aircraft will also participate in the exercise from Dalaman,said a statement received here Saturday from Ankara.

 The ship will stay at Aksaz Naval Base from 5-8 November and at Antalya from 12-14 November. The vessel is a multi-mission frigate and embarks a Z9EC helicopter.

 PNS Shamsheer is the second ship of SWORD Class Frigates and forms mainstay of Pakistan Navy surface combatants. Installation of state of the art weapons and sensors onboard makes her an extremely versatile warship with tremendous firepower to effectively thwart possible threats at sea.

Mavi Balina exercise is fast transforming into an important regional forum to promote Collaborative Maritime Security and interoperability.

The presence of a number of major navies and various senior delegations from important countries is indicative of the fact that Mavi Balina is evolving into a common forum for both Western and Eastern nations, to share, discuss and propose solutions for Collaborative Maritime Security which is one of the critical contemporary maritime challenges.

PNS Shamsheer participation in this exercise will further strengthen existing bilateral relations.


PNS Shamsher is the second ship of the Chines build Zulfiquar F-22P class frigates in Pakistani Navy. I don’t know whether the participating Pakistani P-3C Orion ASW plane is one of the survivors of the attack on PNS Mehran base in 2011 or one of the new ones USA has given to Pakistan in 2012.

H/T: Dave Shirlaw from Sea Waves.


Republic Day 2012

Today is the 89th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

It is a custom of Turkish Navy to send a couple of warships to port cities and open them for public visiting.

This year F-240 TCG Yavuz and F-496 TCG Gökova are in Istanbul.

The 76mm gun of F-496 TCG Gökova. Note the “Tiger” logo, this is new.

The business end of F-496 TCG Gökova. Mk-13 launcher with a training SM-1 missile and the newly installed Mk-48 VLS with ESSM missiles.

These ships look very impressive from this point of view

F-240 TCG Yavuz.

TCG Yavuz and TCG Gökova weren’t the only ships opened to the public. Below is a map from the official website of Turkish Navy showing all the ships and the one submarine for the public to visit. 

Turkish National Intelligence Organisation Asks For A SIGINT Ship

Turkish intelligence agency “National Intelligence Organisation” (MIT) is planning to procure an intelligence gathering ship. The ship will be maned and maintained by Turkish Navy but the operators of the intelligence gathering section will be MIT staff.

In January 2012 the main Turkish signals intelligence (SIGINT) organization, General Staff Electronic Systems Command (GES) was handed from Turkish General Staff to National Intelligence Organisation. Thus it is not unusually for MIT to demand an intelligence gathering ship (AGI).

A-590 TCG Yunus shown here as A-50 FSG Alster. Photo: from the book Die Deutsche Marine 1955 – 1985

The only purposes build AGI used by Turkish Navy was the ex German ship A-50 FGS Alster.  The ship was an Atlantic trawler purchased by German Navy in 1969 and was converted to an intelligence  ships. She served in Turkish Navy as A-590 TCG Yunus from  1989 until 2000.

It is rumored that the Silas Bent class survey ships A-589 TCG Çeşme is used currently by Turkish Navy as AGI. The Silas Bent class were designed to be capable of surveys supporting hydrographic and bathymetric charting and oceanographic requirements for US Navy. Thus TCG Çeşme has extensive underwater survey ability, but  it is not known her over water SIGINT capability.

In the “Annual Report 2011 Undersecretariat for Defence Industries” published in April 2012 it was mentioned that a feasibility study for the construction of an intelligence ship was initiated. And two weeks ago, during the 5th Naval Systems Seminar one of the future procurement projects for Turkish Navy was an SIGINT ship with an estimated cost of 120 million USD.

The Turkish military electronics company Aselsan has a wide range of SIGINT solutions for the use of the land forces. The company also produces ARES-2N naval electronic support system. I assume once the shape of the hull and her propulsion is decided the electronic direction finding and intelligence equipment of the ship can be adapted for maritime use by Aselsan from their existing product portfolio.

Now it is a little bit early to tell whether the intelligence ship for MIT will be an addition to the ongoing project for the Turkish Navy or will it be the same ship. But the project has started and Turkey definitely needs an intelligence gathering ship.


My Impressions From 5.Naval Systems Seminar (Part II)

Some more information and gossip from the 5th Naval Systems Seminar. Click here to read the first part on Bosphorus Naval News.

  • In November, F-511 TCG Heybeliada, the first ship of the Milgem class corvettes will leave for her first overseas deployment, to the Gulf of Aden. It is not clear at the moment if she will replace the Gabya (ex-Perry) class frigate F-492 TCG Gemlik the flagship of CTF-151 or not.
  • Towards to the end of the year the Turkish Naval Task Force will be reactivated. It is not clear where the task force will be deployed. It is possible that TCG Heybeliada may be a part of this task force.
  • Inşallah, the first 3 ships of the Coast Guards large Search and Rescue ships will be handed over by RMK to the end use before the end of 2012. This is a direct quote from Mr. Şener.
  • The first four planes from Meltem Project have been in temporary acceptance in Turkish Navy. The main contractor TAI Expects to hand all planes to Turkish Navy until the end of 2013.
  • Below are some interesting slides from various presentations from the seminar.

  • The contracts has been signed for the following projects: The design of the replenishment and support ship, the submarine rescue ship, the rescue and salvage ships, seismic research ship, modernization of SAR-33 class boats.
  • The following units has been handed over to Turkish Navy: Milgem, New Type Patrol Boats 7 units, Coast Guard intervention boats 20+ units, upgraded SAR-35 class boats 4 units, coast Guard large patrol boat 3 units, LCT’s 8 units.

  • Short term projects: Milgem S, replenishment and support ship, LCAC, conceptual design of a national submarine LPD.
  • Long term projects: TF2000, Turkish Type Fast Attack Craft, 600 tons coast guard vessel, minesweepers, training schooners.

  • Estimated cost of the all planned shipbuilding projects : 6,8 billion USD. To make a comparison the total contract value of the proceeding  naval projects is 8 billion USD.

My Impressions From The 5.Naval Systems Seminar (Part I)

It is once again that wonderful time of the year when we gather in Ankara and discuss the proceedings of Turkish naval ship building industry. The 5th Naval Systems Seminar has started today.

Deputy Undersecretary (Platform Projects) Mr. Serdar Demirel, and Head of Naval Platforms Department Mr. Mustafa Şeker made important presentation where they summarized the process of the Turkish naval shipbuilding g in the last 6 years and laid down the plans for the future.

As today the total contract value of naval system is 8 billion USD whereas the total value of all defence contracts is 27 billion USD. In other words the naval projects make up a third of all current defence projects. But the current level of spending for naval projects is not sustainable and the pipeline for the future projects is not very big.

In order to survive in such environment Turkish shipyards need to merge, need to invest in R&D and need to export. This is the solution offered by UDI.

The word consolidation was used several times both in Mr. Demirel’s and Mr Şeker’s presentations. Creation of some kind of a holding company for the Turkish naval ship building is in the plans of UDI. The aim is to create a household name which will be associated with the Turkish naval shipbuilding industry. One other aim of creating such a holding company is to consolidate design plus some R&D activities and to keep the talented workforce both occupied and in the industry. This is an ambitious plan. This plans success of failure will decide the future of the industry. The UDI will have to use a big amount of determination, persuasion and a very large stick in order to make Turkish shipyards to work together. At the moment managements of the most yards are not mature enough to create a work force à la ARGE F125 of Germany.

There is a military adage that amateurs talk tactics, but professionals talk logistics. “Logistics” seems to be become the new buzzword for the UDI.

UDI defines 4 important steps for increased logistics awareness within the industry:

1)      Performance based approach to logistics

2)      Involvement of the main contractor to the logistics processes

3)      Modernization and maintenance

4)      Product life cycle management

The aim of this move is to keep as much money as possible in Turkey, which will spend for the logistic support of one naval unit over the life cycle of them.

These steps will help to maintain the link between the producer and the end-user which would normally end after the completion of the production process.

In general the tone of this year’s Naval Systems Seminar was very different from earlier ones. This year’s NSS is more mature more sophisticated.

Turkish Landing Ship Will Participate In Naval Exericse As A Sales Representative

Ç-151 TCG Ç-151 leaving her home port. Photo: ADIK

According to the ADİK shipyard’s web site the first ship of the New LCT class Ç-151 will participate to the joint Turkish-Egyptian naval exercise Sea of Friendship (Bahr El Sadaka).

In 2007, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (UDI), submitted a Request for Proposal for 8 LCT’s. These new vessels were to be built in Turkey and had to be fast. From the four companies that submitted to the tender, ADİK shipyard was chosen. On June 2009, a contract was signed between UDI and ADİK for the production of the ships. The exact value of the contract was not made public but it is estimated to be around 100 million EUR. The production was completed right on time after 37 months.

I must confess that when I first read the Turkish Navy’s announcement about this exercise I was a surprised that 2 landing ships were among the participating units. I thought that these ships would be lager LST as the offer more accommodation and more comfort both for their crew and their passengers on a deployment to Egypt  The LCT are constructed for action on nearer shores with shorter deployment distances.

My curiosity increased as I read about the deployment of Ç-151 for this exercise as it is not very common that Turkish Navy sends LCT type landing craft to overseas exercises. The LCT are reserved  for national use. This is why they have the Turkish letter “Ç” in their pennant numbers whereas all other Turkish Naval ships have the standard NATO letters.

But my curiosity was resolved in a short time. Again according to ADİK website the company is in discussion with Egyptian Navy to supply LCT and LST for this country and the representatives of ADİK shipyard attended a  meeting of the Egyptian president Mr. Mursi in early October when he was in Ankara.

Thus the deployment of the ADİK build Ç-151 is not just a naval excursion but a sales trip as well.

The First Upgraded MEKO 200 Frigate Of Turkish Navy

Well the DHA story about the naval activity in Gölcük Naval Base was not completely useless.

MEKO 200 Track IIB Class frigate F-246 TCG Salihreis with her brand new Smart S Mk2 radar. Photo: Doğan Haber Ajansı.

This is the first public photo of the frigate TCG Salihreis with her brand new 3D Smart-S Mk2 radar. The last batch of 4 MEKO 200 frigates were delivered to Turkish Navy with AWS-9 3D radars of British origin.  A modernization program for the MEKO 200 class was started after Turkish decided to use Smart-S Mk2 radar in the first two ships of the Milgem class.

TCG Salihreis is the 4 ship in Turkish inventory to have this new radar. The other ships are F-511 TCG Heybeliada, F-512 TCG Büyükada and F-497 TCG Göksu.

The difficult and sometimes dangerous maintenance and the structural complexity of the AWS-9 radars does not make these equipment very popular among its users. So I expect that once the tests of this new radar are completed there will be other replacements too.

I Don’t Know About Elvis, But William R. Hearst Is Alive And Lives In Turkey.

Today Doğan Haber Ajansı (DHA), a local news agency run a story of heightened activity in Gölcük Naval Base and speculated that the navy was preparing itself for action off the Coast of Syria. The story was later picked up by UPI and published in English.

According to the original story of the DHA Turkish Navy has increased the speed of the preparations for a deployment in East Mediterranean. “A number of warships and submarines” were deployed to the Mediterranean Sea from military bases in the Turkish north. The article described the vessels as loaded with cargo labeled “war load”.The text was accompanied by a short video and some photos.

The journalist of DHA also made a short video across the naval base showing the alleged preparations.  I believe that this news of DHA is more or less useless, a piece of crap.

First of all the journalist were not able to observe the submarine berthing area inside the Gölcük Naval base from the point where they shot the video. Therefore the information about the submarines being loaded by war load is not true or is just an assumption. Otherwise they would show it in the video or among the photos.

Second all the photographic information DHA can offer to support its allegation that reinforcing its naval assets in the Mediterranean following a Syrian attack across the border, Consists of F-246 TCG Salihreis receiving some unidentified supplies at a finger pier. This photo I believe is the source of the DHA’s hyped story as indeed something being loaded to the frigate. The other evidence DHA supplies is a naval AB-212 ASW helicopter landing on the F-245 TCG Oruçreis. In fact the video shows the main area of Gölcük Naval Yard for a short period where a heightened activity was unnoticeable.

We should not forget that on Sunday 7th October 2012 a joint naval exercise between Turkey and Egypt will start. So some ships will participate in this exercise and they must get prepared for this deployment.  There is simply not enough evidence that the two frigates getting ready for the deployment will eventually will end up off the shores of Syria.

If William Randolph Hearst would be alive he would be very proud of the ultra nationalistic tone of the Turkish press and its Jingoism in the last couple days.

Turkish and Egyptian Navies Will Exercise In Eastern Mediterranean Next Week

Turkish Navy announced that Turkish and Egyptian navies are gong to conduct a joint exercise between 7th and 14th October 2012 in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Exercise Sea of Friendship (Bahr El Sadaka) will be hosted by Egypt. Following Turkish naval units will take part in the exercise: Two frigates, two fast attack craft, one replenishment tanker, two landing ship, one marine infantry company, two helicopters and one special forces team. There is no information about the participating units from Egyptian side.

The timing and the location of this exercise is very note worthy. But this exercise was usually held in autumn. The addition of two LST’s and one marine infantry company are also very interesting additions to this years order of battle.

Turkish Naval Forces Day

A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa

A-579 TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa

F-243 TCG Yıldırım

The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Turkish Naval Forces Day.of the Navy.

On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean, was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria.
With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean. This only changed with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

According to marvelous book Empires of The Sea by the historian Roger Crowley, the importance of the Battle of Preveza lays in its psychological effects as the battle shattered the morale of the Christian Alliance that fought against the Ottoman Empire for the control of the Mediterranean.

The celebrate the 474th anniversary of this battle on 27th September, the MEKO 200 class frigate F-243 TCG Yıldırım visited İstanbul and was opened to the public. As a bonus I was able to witness the south bound passage of the two training ships of Turkish Navy A-577 TCG Sokullu Mehmet Paşa and A-579 TCG Cezayirli Hasan Paşa. Both ships were on a training cruise wit h the cadets of the Naval Academy in the Black Sea.

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